Right now, you have questions and concerns about your common law situation – May I help?
At this moment, you probably have an important question or two about your common law situation running through your mind. You want accurate information from a lawyer in Ontario about where you stand today, but only need a brief consultation.
With your permission, I’d like to help you gain a clear picture of your current situation. I suggest that you schedule a 10-minute telephone consultation so that we can talk. During this consultation I will gladly answer anything to do with the law regarding common law relationships.
You can set this up in 3 easy steps:
Step 1. Make payment at the payment link below. The cost for a 10-minute telephone consultation is just $34.88.
Step 2. I will email you a very short questionnaire to complete and return to me.
Step 3. Once I receive your completed questionnaire, I will schedule your telephone call – often for the same day.
To get started, click the button below to pay via credit card or Paypal:
When you hire my services, I promise you’ll receive…
1. Answers to Your Questions. Before you make an important decision, you want information. This includes not only a general understanding of your problem, but also answers to specific questions about how your decision will affect you and your family. I have dedicated my law practice to helping people understand their problems and the solutions I can provide. The basis of this understanding is having a lawyer who will accurately and completely respond to your questions and concerns.
2. Close Personal Attention. I promise I will provide you with the close personal attention you want and deserve. No one likes to think their lawyer is too busy to help them — or unwilling to provide good service. I work hard to treat my clients the way I like to be treated when I’m the client.
3. Immediate Access. If I’m in the office and available when you call, I promise I will speak with you immediately. I do not screen calls based on who pays the highest fees, or who demands the most attention. I speak with clients in the order they call. You can depend on it.
4. Prompt Return Calls. I promise I will make every effort to return your phone calls promptly. If I don’t call you right away, that means I’m either helping another client or in court. I’ll return your call the moment I’m available.
5. Quick Responses to Your Requests. Whenever you need something from my office, please don’t hesitate to call. I promise I’ll respond to your request promptly and courteously. If I’m busy when you call, I’ll handle it for you as soon as I’m free.
6. Confidential Service. I promise when you hire my services, you can rest assured that everything you say will be kept confidential. My job is not to judge you, but to analyse your situation.
7. Fair, Reasonable Fees. When you hire my services, you are not paying for a penthouse suite of offices or a huge support staff of secretaries and assistants. I keep close watch on my overhead and regularly monitor my fees to make sure they are fair and reasonable for both of us. You don’t want a cheap lawyer who charges so little that he goes out of business. Nor do you want the most expensive lawyer who charges you for the paintings on his walls. The best lawyer-client relationship is the one when both you and I are happy. I promise to work with you to that end.
8. Competent Family Law Services. I work hard to maintain the highest level of knowledge in Ontario divorce laws. I eagerly attend continuing education classes, seminars and workshops on all aspects of Canadian family law. They allow me to provide you with the latest information, most effective techniques, and most efficient methods of protecting your and your family’s interest.
9. Aggressive Representation. Some divorce lawyers aren’t trial lawyers. So when a conflict arises that requires court appearances, they may send the case to another lawyer. Over the years, I have spent a lot of time in court. So if something arises that requires a court hearing — or if your case goes to trial — I will gladly and aggressively represent you in court. One thing’s for sure: I’ll help you every step of the way and I will never leave you hanging.
10. Courtesy and Respect. I promise that I will treat you with courtesy and respect. Your time is as valuable as mine, so unless there is some crisis, our meetings will start on time. And when we meet, you can be assured that you’ll have my undivided attention. When I explain things, I won’t speak to you in legalese.
11. Compassion. I know that you are going through one of the most difficult periods of your life. I promise that I’ll take an active interest in you and your legal situation.
12. Excellent Communication. You deserve to be kept current on the progress of your case. I will copy you with every piece of correspondence I write or receive about your case. I will always let you know what the next step in your case is. And when something major happens, I will send you a written summary of what has happened. Good communication is the key to a good working relationship with your lawyer. And I intend to make sure that our relationship is the best you have ever had, or will ever have, with a lawyer.
13. Value in Every Respect. My goal is to make sure you feel that the value you receive from my services is always greater than the fee you pay. So while I can’t guarantee my fees will always be low, I can guarantee they will always be fair. I want you to receive more value from me than any other lawyer you know. And I’ll work hard to make sure you do.
14. More Than You Expect. If you think of some way I can provide you with better service, or better meet your family’s needs, please tell me how. Even though we work together on your family’s legal matters, still, I’m not a mind reader. If you have something troubling you — or if you have a concern or a problem — please discuss it with me. If I can help you, I will. And if I can’t help you, I may know someone who can. A good lawyer-client relationship deals with all types of problems, not just legal problems. I want to be a resource for you and for all challenges you face. So if something crosses your mind and you want my input, I’ll be happy to help.
|“Jeffrey has a passion for the law itself, not just what he can gain from it.”
“I was quite impressed with the way Jeffrey went about things. I’ve worked within the legal field for 15 years, and it’s impressive and refreshing to see someone who has a passion for the field itself, not just for what he can gain from it. Jeffrey researched my specific problem, then laid out a common-sense approach to solving it. I’m quite happy with Jeffrey and his services and will continue to use him myself, and recommend him to others in my situation.”
|“Jeffrey was a breath of fresh air, somebody you can trust.”
“Years ago, I got railroaded in court so I didn’t want to go back. From my experiences, all lawyers were sleezeballs. I called the Men’s Divorce Center, which gave me Jeffrey’s name. He was a breath of fresh air. Jeffrey is very honest, somebody you can trust. Working with Jeffrey was a totally different experience. Jeffrey did a really good job for me. I would certainly refer Jeffrey to friends.”
|“Jeffrey is responsive and accessible.”
“I found Jeffrey through his web site, which I really like. Jeffrey was extremely helpful and always answered all of my questions. He was very friendly and easy to work with. Jeffrey gave me the best advice he could each and every time, never imposing his thoughts on me. Then he allowed me to make my own decisions. I really liked working with Jeffrey by e-mail. Jeffrey likes e-mail, too. It’s the perfect way for me because I think better in writing. Then Jeffrey can answer my e-mail when it’s convenient for him. He was always responsive and accessible. His law clerk, Lindsay, was helpful, too. I would absolutely recommend Jeffrey’s services to others.”
|“Jeffrey is easy to work with, even from the U.S., because he uses technology to his advantage!”
“When I needed a lawyer in Ottawa experienced in family law, I searched the Internet and easily found Jeffrey’s web site. I sent him an e-mail and he replied almost immediately. I was impressed with how easy it was to reach Jeffrey, how responsive he was, and with the technological abilities of his firm. Jeffrey and I did a lot of our business over the Internet and with phone calls. In fact, I met Jeffrey face to face only once. He is pleasant — a nice guy and unassuming — and he charged what he said he would charge. And since he accepts credit cards, it’s easy to work with him across the border. I was impressed with Jeffrey’s background and with his credentials. He offered good advice based on his previous experiences in a clear, straightforward manner. I have been very satisfied with Jeffrey’s handling of my affairs and would surely refer him to others.”
|“E-mail made communicating with Jeffrey extremely convenient.”
“Jeffrey was very knowledgeable and very professional. He really made me feel comfortable. Jeffrey discussed my situation and was very helpful. Communicating with Jeffrey was extremely convenient. Since he is in Ottawa, it was so handy and easy just to send him an e-mail. Jeffrey is very mild and mellow. Yet when he got information from the other lawyer, he was quick to respond. Working with Jeffrey was a very good experience. I highly recommend him.”
|“Jeffrey does what he says he will do. You don’t have to check up on him.”
“Jeffrey simplifies legal talk into something you can easily understand. I have attention deficit disorder. When I would read something, I’d get partway through it and had no idea what I was reading. Jeffrey made it real easy for me. Also, Jeffrey does what he says he will do. You don’t have to check up on him. I never had to call back and ask how it’s going. I knew Jeffrey was working hard on my case and that things were getting done. I have a lot of faith in Jeffrey.”
Kunsan, South Korea
formerly of Ottawa, Ontario
|“Jeffrey did his job professionally and accurately, just like I expected.”
“I never personally met Jeffrey Behrendt. We communicated only via e-mail and regular mail, but this functioned very well and was in my opinion fast and up to date. I have been kept informed at all times about the various different legal situations. The mails were easy to understand and Jeffrey kept options open for me to decide myself how to proceed with the matter. I knew what were the risks on each option. So now my legal matter came to a successful end, I know that Jeffrey did his job professionally and accurately, just like I expected. My last word would be he is an expensive lawyer where someone gets the treatment he deserves plus successful legal representation.”
“Jeffrey always returns my calls within one day.”
“I found Jeffrey on the internet. Then I saw and read his materials before I made an appointment. I met with Jeffrey for a consultation. I had spoken to several lawyers, but felt most comfortable with Jeffrey. He’s very patient and understanding. I can tell him anything and he always returns my calls within one day. Jeffrey is a very nice man and I wholeheartedly recommend his services. In fact, not long ago I referred a friend to Jeffrey.”
|“Jeffrey was knowledgeable, effective, and always easy to get ahold of.”
“Jeffrey and I had a collaborative effort, which allowed me input into the process. I worked with Jeffrey mostly by e-mail. It was always easy to get ahold of him. Jeffrey was responsive, getting back to my quite rapidly, frequently in the evening and on weekends. He was knowledgeable and well informed. Jeffrey was well aware of the current jurisprudence and the effect it would have on my case. And he didn’t lead me down the garden path. Instead, he identified my case’s weak points and strong points. Then he gave me a good, honest assessment of what he thought the outcome would be. Everything did evolve as Jeffrey indicated it would. And, in fact, we came out pretty close to what he predicted. I was comfortable working with Jeffrey. He was soft spoken, effective, and as aggressive as I wanted him to be. Jeffrey was not overly expensive and I feel I got good value for the dollar. I would recommend Jeffrey’s services to others.”
|“I was happy with Jeffrey.”
“I was happy with the way Jeffrey handled everything, especially the divorce jitters.”
|Dominique de Chezet
|“Jeffrey is not the demanding type of lawyer. He’s the quiet leader type.”
“Jeffrey is not the run-of-the-mill lawyer. He’s sincere, committed and does his job in his own way. His methodology is different from what I conceptualized of the typical lawyer. Jeffrey is quiet, dedicated and committed. It takes a certain type of client to appreciate the work he can do for you if you just let him do it. At times I had to assure myself that I was going in the right direction because Jeffrey doesn’t come across like he’s going to be the demanding type of lawyer. Instead, Jeffrey’s the quiet leader type. In this area of law, many people want instant action. But in my situation, the process took time and patience. I appreciate what Jeffrey has done and feel I got good value for my money.”
|“Jeffrey’s fees are legitimate and fair. I would use him again in a heartbeat.”
“Jeffrey is really impressive. He is personable, efficient, and gets back to you on e-mails and by phone as quickly as possible. I’d send an e-mail and get a response back in an hour or two — sometimes in a matter of minutes. Jeffrey’s very efficient at sending and receiving information. This is a definite plus, not like the hassle of playing phone tag. I’m very happy with the way Jeffrey operates. He did not charge me for a lot of excess stuff. His fees are legitimate, reasonable and fair. I liked how Jeffrey presented himself. He’s a good listener. And he cares for kids’ concerns, as well. I liked everything about him and highly recommend him to anyone. He took care of me very well. I would definitely use him again in a heartbeat.”
Carleton Place, Ontario
“Jeffrey was pensive, understanding and thorough — he provided a personal level of service that addressed my needs at a difficult time in my life.”
“I approached Jeffrey at a difficult point in my own life. Faced with the need to find a lawyer I first took to the internet. Jeffrey’s personal web site, versus that of many others, impressed me. It attracted me because it was carefully laid out with sound information and advice. Initially intrigued, I set up an appointment to meet Jeffrey and on meeting him was struck by his thoughtful manner and solid advice. Based upon my review of his web site and our introductory exploratory meeting I engaged him to represent my interests in a most difficult process. In subsequent meetings, by telephone and by e-mail, Jeffrey delivered a personal level of service and went well beyond the call of duty in meeting my needs during a most difficult time. His advice was focussed and to the point. I particularly appreciated his close attention to detail and thorough review of issues related to my separation agreement. The issue of “Separation” is a difficult challenge — to say the very least. Jeffrey delivered solid, independent advice — on a personal level that met my expressed needs.”
“Jeffrey looked after my best interests with compassion and respect.”
“Jeffrey showed diligent attention and care to me during this difficult time. I was able to sleep better knowing that my best interests were being handled by Jeffrey with compassion and respect. Every time things got rocky, Jeffrey managed to calm the waters. Jeffrey was invaluable to myself and my family during this process. There really aren’t enough words to express what it means to have an advocate like Jeffrey in my corner.”
“Jeffrey was easy to talk with and gave me his knowledge during a very traumatic time.”
“Jeffrey is very personable and honest. Jeffrey supported me in how I was approaching my divorce. I was quite happy when I first met Jeffrey because he was easy to talk with and gave me his knowledge during a very traumatic time. It’s always nice to talk with somebody who’s been through the system and knows how things work. Jeffrey doesn’t hold back. He lets you know what he thinks. I found that Jeffrey and I were thinking on the same line. That’s why I decided to go with him. Jeffrey was straightforward about what I should spend money on — and what would be a waste of money. He made me feel confident, knowing that I was going the right way and knowing that he was behind me.”
“Jeffrey was up-front with costs… Dealing with Jeffrey was a pleasure.”
“Jeffrey is a professional, relaxed and friendly lawyer. From my experience, he was up-front with costs and kept me informed of every step he took in dealing with my concerns. When I asked him to provide some “last minute” extras, he did so quickly and without hassle. Dealing with Jeffrey was a pleasure.”
|“I really appreciate how hard Jeffrey worked on my behalf.”
“Jeffrey is one heck of a lawyer. I felt completely at ease when talking with him and relaying my problem without feeling scorned. Jeffrey made me feel comfortable. And I really appreciate how hard he worked on my behalf. There’s a stigma about lawyers who try to gouge you or take you to the cleaners. Not Jeffrey. It was a great feeling to work with him. Jeffrey’s a super guy and I absolutely recommend him to others without hesitation.”
|“When I asked questions, Jeffrey had the answers.”
“I felt Jeffrey was very thorough. He’s a nice, friendly guy who is approachable. Jeffrey listens to what you have to say. When I asked questions, he had the answers. Jeffrey’s a nice fellow with a good head on his shoulders. I would gladly refer friends to Jeffrey.”
“Jeffrey is a great lawyer and a very nice guy.”
“Jeffrey Behrendt knows his stuff. He’s a very nice guy and good at his job. Jeffrey makes you feel at ease and doesn’t talk down to you. When he puts things on paper, his writing is clear, precise and to the point. Jeffrey’s a great lawyer and I will refer friends to him.”
“Jeffrey came up with things even the judge didn’t know.”
“Jeffrey is very conscientious, honest, and fair with his billing. Jeffrey is sturdy, steady and stays the course. He’s very smart and came up with things even the judge didn’t know. During Jeffrey’s presentation in court, the judge responded, ‘I didn’t know about that.’ Jeffrey obviously does his research and comes across quite well in court. Another plus: When I’ve asked Jeffrey about specific things we might do, he tells me immediately how the court will look at it. I’ve seen lawyers who fly off the handle and will try anything just to rack up billable hours. But Jeffrey honestly tries to reduce the number of hours he works by telling me right away whether we should follow a particular course. He helps me save money by not wasting time on things that won’t work. Jeffrey will tell me, ‘You don’t need that and you won’t gain anything.’ Jeffrey is honest and straightforward with his fees and comments. I’m very impressed.”
“Jeffrey was available and listened to what I had to say.”
“I had a hard time finding a lawyer. Then I found Jeffrey. He is easy to get along with and I found him available when other lawyers weren’t. He listened to what I had to say. Lawyers often tell you what you should be doing, but not Jeffrey. He was unassuming and had no sense of self-importance. I like to think for myself. I knew what I wanted to do and I explained it to Jeffrey. He was willing to argue my point of view. I’m happy about that. Jeffrey and I are starting to understand each other. We’re building a foundation that will lead to a long future relationship. I would certainly refer other people to Jeffrey.”
“Jeffrey is detail oriented and asks questions the other lawyers will ask.”
“Jeffrey is a good lawyer. He really goes into the details. He asks questions that other lawyers will ask you. This forces you to think and come up with something. So far, I’ve had no problem. If friends asked me about a divorce lawyer, I would definitely refer them to Jeffrey.”
“Jeffrey did not do anything without first getting my approval.”
“Jeffrey is a very likeable fellow. The reason I like him is because I’ve heard horror stories about how lawyers run the show instead of doing what you want them to. My biggest nightmare was that the lawyers would take over. Jeffrey was not like that. He listened to what I wanted to achieve and did not try to sway me from my path. He told me of the obstacles and let me decide for myself what I wanted to do. He kept me informed ahead of the game, before he took action. He did not do anything without first getting my approval. He followed through on whatever instructions I gave him. He informed me of the process of law all along, all the way through. And I did not have to go to court. Hiring Jeffrey Behrendt was money well spent.”
“I plan to use Jeffrey again – and I have already referred a friend.”
“Jeffrey is easy to talk with and very responsive to any inquiries or questions I might have. He’s fair and has a really good understanding of the issues. I’m quite happy with how he’s approaching my case. He’s not too soft and not too hard. Last time I had a lawyer, he wore kid gloves. He cost me a fortune and I got nowhere. Jeffrey does not allow the other side to dance all over him. He knows when to be firm in asking questions and getting information from the other side. And he’s not so harsh that he makes the situation adversarial, which could drag it out much longer. I plan to use Jeffrey again next spring when I have other issues I must address. I’m so pleased with Jeffrey that I have already referred a friend to him.”
Reason #1: Clients Are Delighted With His Services. People often talk about the lawyers they hire and how disappointed they were with their choice. Not so with Jeffrey. Below, read comments from our previous clients.
Reason #2: Limits Law Practice To Family Law. If any lawyer hopes to excel in the practice of law, he must limit his practice so he can focus all of his efforts on that one area. Jeffrey limits his law practice to issues that affect families, including divorce, family law, estate planning, and related issues.
Reason #3: Bachelor Of Arts Degree In Economics. Family law issues often have economic and financial repercussions. Yet most lawyers have little, if any, education in either. Jeffrey attended from the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario on both a Descartes Scholarship and a Canada Scholarship. He earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics, graduating on the Dean’s Honour’s List.
Reason #4: Juris Doctor Degree. Jeffrey earned a Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in Toronto.
Reason #5: Law Review Editor. While working toward his law degree, Jeffrey served as Associate Editor of the University of Toronto Law Review.
Reason #6: Master Of Laws Degree. Jeffrey didn’t end his legal education after graduating from law school. Instead, he pursued an advanced degree, enrolling in King’s College London, where in 1998 he earned a Master of Laws Degree.
Reason #7: Knows Inner Workings Of The Courts. Jeffrey was awarded two judicial clerkships, one at the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and one at the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As a result, he is very familiar with how courts work and how to make the legal system work to your benefit.
Reason #8: Knows How Law Firms Work. Before opening his own office, Jeffrey worked at law firms in London and Toronto. He knows how both large and small firms operate, and how to work with each to achieve the result you want.
Reason #9: Represents Both Men And Women. Jeffrey does not limit his practice to representing clients of only one gender. He has experience representing both men and women, and in protecting the legal rights and needs of young children.
Reason #10: Trials And Appeals: Jeffrey has advocated for his clients in the Superior Court of Justice and on appeals at the Divisional Court. He is experienced in negotiating and litigating the contested issues of support, custody and access, and division of property.
Reason #11: Recognized Authority On Family Law. Jeffrey has published a number of articles in Law Now Magazine, been quoted in the newspaper Xtra, and has been interviewed several times by the media, on television: by both CJOH and the New RO; and on radio, by CJOB. Also, Jeffrey has presented several seminars on family law topics.
Reason #12: Client Services Guarantee. Jeffrey provides each client with a Client Services Guarantee, which you can read below, in which he guarantees the quality of service you will receive from his firm.
Reason #13: Easy To Understand. Clients delight in how clearly and precisely Jeffrey speaks. They easily understand what he tells them. Fortunately, he’s not like many lawyers who talk over their clients’ head.
Reason #14: Caring And Responsive. No matter how stressed you feel — no matter what you don’t understand — Jeffrey will help calm your nerves, bring your situation into focus, and explain how he can help protect your rights.
Reason #15: Easy To Reach With E-mail. E-mail has proved to be a highly effective way for Jeffrey to communicate with clients, rather than one chasing the other by phone. If you approve of conversing through e-mail, Jeffrey will respond promptly.
Reason #16: Acts Only With Your Approval. You may have heard horror stories about lawyers who insist on running the show. Jeffrey doesn’t try to take over. He listens to you, considers what you want to achieve, explains obstacles you must overcome, and lets you decide how you want him to proceed. Then he supports your decision. He does not take action without first getting your approval.
Reason #17: Client Communication. The cornerstone of Jeffrey’s success has been the quality of his relationship with clients as well as his expertise in handling the most sensitive or complex cases. His primary focus is to listen to and communicate with you so he better understands your needs and provides you with the best possible representation.
Reason #18: Long-Time Friend And Neighbour. Jeffrey was born and raised in Ottawa. He now lives in Ottawa with his young son, Emet.
Reason #19: Clients Are Family Members. One reason Jeffrey gets excellent results for his clients is because he works as hard for them as he would for someone in his own family.
Reason #20: Educational Web Site. Jeffrey has designed an in-depth educational web site to answer your questions. Plus, he invites your inquiries, by e-mail and telephone.
CommonLawRelationships.ca is a guide to all the major family law and estate law legal issues relating to common law relationships in Canada – including child custody, child support, spousal support, property division, wills, and more.
It is written by Jeffrey Behrendt, BA, JD, LLM a family law lawyer in Ottawa. Its philosophy is based on the fact that knowledge is power and that people should not be forced to pay huge legal fees to learn the basics of the law that applies to their situation. Its aim is to explain the law regarding common law relationships in Canada clearly, in terms that non-legal people can understand.
We are always happy to hear from you. You can reach us on our contact page via email or telephone us at 613-519-0320.
Jeffrey Behrendt is the founder of Behrendt Professional Corporation, the law firm in Ottawa that runs CommonLawRelationships.ca. Jeffrey lives with his son, Emet.
Jeffrey Behrendt attended the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario on both a Descartes Scholarship and a Canada Scholarship. In 1993, he graduated on the Dean’s Honour’s List with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics. In 1996, he graduated with a Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in Toronto. While in law school, Jeffrey Behrendt was an Associate Editor of the University of Toronto Law Review. Jeffrey Behrendt continued his education in England, graduating with Merit in 1998 with a Master of Laws Degree from King’s College London.
Jeffrey Behrendt has a wide range of experience. He has inside knowledge of how courts work from doing two judicial clerkships, one at the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and one at the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He has worked at law firms in both London, England and in Toronto.
Jeffrey Behrendt’s practice is devoted entirely to family law. He focuses on helping his clients reduce the pain and expense of their divorces.
Jeffrey Behrendt has advocated for his clients in the Superior Court of Justice and on appeals at the Divisional Court. He is experienced in negotiating and litigating the contested issues of support, child custody and access, and division of property.
Jeffrey Behrendt has been interviewed several times on TV, by both CJOH and the New RO. He has been interviewed on radio by CJOB and by Peter Warren on CKNW. He has been quoted in an article in the Canadian Bar Association’s National Magazine. He has published numerous articles in Law Now Magazine. He has been quoted in the newspaper Xtra. He has given talks on family law at various locations. He teaches at the Paralegal program at Herzing College.
Comments, Questions, Concerns?
Feel free to contact us – we are always happy to hear from you.
Behrendt Professional Corporation
45 O’Connor Street, Suite 1150
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 1A4
Telephone: (613) 519-0320
Send us an email:
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